‘I prefer to let my actions speak for me’: Seah Kian Peng on impartiality of Speaker of Parliament
Mr Seah Kian Peng, who will be nominated as the next Speaker of Parliament, said he wants to let his actions speak for his ability to discharge his upcoming duties amid increased scrutiny of the Speaker’s impartiality.
“I prefer to let my actions speak for me (and) to be judged for that,” he said when asked how he plans to be impartial as Speaker.
He was speaking to The Straits Times on the sidelines of FairPrice Group’s 50th anniversary gala dinner at Marina Bay Sands on Saturday.
His appointment follows Mr Tan Chuan-Jin’s resignation on July 17 as Speaker of Parliament. Former Tampines GRC MP Cheng Li Hui, with whom Mr Tan had an affair, resigned on the same day.
Mr Tan had also been criticised in early July for using “unparliamentary language“ during an April sitting in reaction to a speech made by Workers’ Party MP Jamus Lim. In a video that went viral on social media, Mr Tan could be heard muttering the words “f****** populist”.
The incident fuelled discussions about the neutrality and impartiality of the role of Speaker in Parliament.
The Parliament website states that in carrying out the duties in the House, the Speaker “must remain impartial and fair to all MPs”.
“The job as a Speaker hasn’t changed. You need to carry out your roles, and you need to be fair to all parties on both sides of the House,” said Mr Seah.
He said he did not expect to be nominated. But he pledged to perform his duties to the best of his abilities. “I know the role comes with a lot of responsibilities and expectations,” he said.
Mr Seah said he will remain as deputy chairman of FairPrice Group and MP for Marine Parade GRC for the time being.
His new Speaker duties will add to these roles. On his role as FairPrice Group’s deputy chairman, he added: “I think I will have to talk through and discuss all this.”
PM Lee will nominate the new Speaker at the next Parliament sitting starting on Aug 2. At the same sitting, he will be delivering a ministerial statement.